The AIDS obsession doubtless arises from the fact that the exceptional destiny of the sufferers gives them what others cruelly lack today: a strong, impregnable identity, a sacrificial identity -- the privilege of illness, around which, in other cultures, the entire group once gravitated, and which we have abolished almost everywhere today by the enterprise of therapeutic eradication of Evil [le Mal]. But in another way, the whole strategy of the prevention of illness merely shifts the problem [le mal] from the biological to the social body. All the anti-AIDS campaigns, playing on solidarity and fear -- `Your AIDS interests me' -- give rise to an emotional contagion as noxious as the biological. The promotional infectiousness of information is just as obscene and dangerous as that of the virus. If AIDS destroys biological immunities, then the collective theatricalization and brainwashing, the blackmailing into responsibility and mobilization, are playing their part in propagating the epidemic of information and, as a side-effect, in reinforcing the social body's immunodeficiency -- a process that is already far advanced -- and in promoting that other mental AIDS that is the Aids-athon, the Telethon and other assorted Thanatons -- expiation and atonement of the collective bad conscience, pornographic orchestration of national unity.
AIDS itself ends up looking like a side-effect of this demagogic virulence. `Tu me préserves actif, je te préservatif' ['You keep me active, I condom you']: this scabrous irony, heavy with blackmail, which is also that of Benetton, as it once was of the BNP, in fact conceals a technique of manipulation and dissolution of the social body by the stimulation of the vilest emotions: self-pity and self-disgust. Politicians and advertisers have understood that the key to democratic government -- perhaps even the essence of the political? -- is to take general stupidity for granted: `Your idiocy, your resentment, interest us!' Behind which lurks an even more suspect discourse: `Your rights, your destitution, your freedom, interest us!' Democratic souls have been trained to swallow all the horrors, scandals, bluff, brainwashing and misery, and to launder these themselves. Behind the condescending interest there always lurks the voracious countenance of the vampire.